What’s the latest sign that gravel riding has taken over the cycling world?
How about a new, five-day event organizers describe as, “An immersive VIP gravel training experience” where the price of admission can cost up to $2,100. The new Bend Unpaved event (May 7-11) is headlined by Bend-based professional cyclist Carl Decker. He’s inviting up to 15 people to join him and his friends Matt Lieto and Barry Wicks for an all-inclusive training camp where they share their vast knowledge and favorite central Oregon rides.[Read more…]
Bacona Road swoops along a ridge as it alternates between clearcuts and dense forests. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
We’ve sung the praises of Stub Stewart State Park on this site several times in the past. It’s not only a great bike-camping destination from Portland (a MAX ride will put you about 13 miles away from a carfree path that leads to the park entrance), it also makes a perfect base camp for miles of excellent roads and trails. [Read more…]
Gravel grinding, rambling, mixed-terrain riding, off-roading, adventure riding — no matter what you call it, exploring unpaved backroads is one of the most popular things to do on a bike these days. What’s not to like? Pedaling on logging, fire, and farm roads gives you the accessibility of road riding and the adventure of mountain biking all rolled into one. [Read more…]
A taste of the gravel roads in the Tillamook State Forest. (Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
This October, one of America’s best supported bike rides will do something they’ve never done in their 30-year history: Take the show off-road.
A few weekends ago I rode about 50 miles east of Portland to get a closer look at one of the routes that will be featured as part of Cycle Oregon’s ‘Gravel’ event coming October 5-7th. The two days of riding (or three if you choose to ride out there) will be based at Reeher’s Camp, a site built on a historic Civilian Conservation Corps camp a few miles west of Timber (population 130) at the eastern edge of the Tillamook State Forest. [Read more…]
Team Sundress ready to hit Trask River Road (after an hour-long ride on the MAX). (Photos: Madi Carlson)
“It was by far the hardest thing either of us have ever done, but we’d both do it again…though only after some rest and time to forget some of the details.”
While the kids are away the moms will play.
For me that means riding my bike much farther while carrying a bit less stuff than when I have the kiddos in tow. And ideally with a mom friend at my side. My friend Elle of Tiny Helmets Big Bikes came up from Sacramento, tasking me to find us a multi-day bike trip. I decided we’d take Trask River Road to Tillamook on the Oregon Coast.
While not technically easy, this the most straightforward, easiest dirt route to the coast from Portland. Starting from the end of the MAX line in Hillsboro, we route you through the least pavement possible to Mount Richmond and then on gravel up to the Barney Reservoir and along the North Fork of the Trask River directly into Tillamook.[Read more…]
In the past few years there’s been a meteoric rise in the popularity of unpaved road riding — a.k.a. “gravel grinding”. In just five years we’ve gone from exploring “Bullshit” roads, to capturing the State of Oregon’s attention, to the rise and fall of the Oregon Outback.
The current state of this adventurous style of riding is the proliferation of groups that organize themselves online via social media and plan unsanctioned, unsupported rides on logging and forest roads in and around the Portland region.
One of the largest and most well-known of those groups is Our Mother the Mountain, and this weekend will be something of a coming-out party for all if its fans. Known simply as OMTM, the group is “led” by people whose knowledge of excellent backroad routes is as deep as their passion for riding them. These are the folks who inspired me to discover the dark side of Larch Mountain and the “hell of the North Plains.”
Justin Pitts drove nine hours from San Francisco to Burns to ride in the Skull 120. Here he is on an unmarked road north of Dry Gulch Reservoir. (Photos: Jonathan Maus)
The town of Burns in Harney County is one of the most remote places in Oregon. At over 10,000 square miles, you could fit 21 Multnomah Counties inside of it. And with a land mass about the size of Massachusetts, Harney County has less than one resident per square mile. [Read more…]